The Wright Attitude Shoppe in a Shed

At John Wright’s new Erin antiques outpost, artwork and chairs hung on pegs fill every inch of wall and English-country vignettes cover the floor.

September 18, 2020 | | Heritage

The latest iteration of John Wright’s patrician-yet-rustic antique shop is a fantasy space tucked into a driveshed behind his Erin home. Artwork and chairs hung on pegs fill every inch of wall. Chic English-country vignettes of set tables and armchairs paired with just the right lamp cover the floor. This is his fourth retail outpost – the Erin native started filling weekend and summer storefronts in Erin a quarter century ago. John moved to this leafy locale from his Main Street location, The Annex, this summer. He’s currently open Friday to Sunday, noon to five.

John Wright opened his new location on Spring Street in Erin this summer.Photo by James MacDonald.

John Wright opened his new location on Spring Street in Erin this summer.Photo by James MacDonald.

Owner: John Wright

How he started: While John has no formal training, antiques are his lifeblood. He was a Canadian Airlines customer service representative for 35 years, retiring in 2001 after Air Canada took over the airline. “When I was growing up my parents had nice antiques and furniture. I used to dabble in garage sales, and 25 years ago I started my first shop, a weekend shop, called the Wright Attitude.”

His first purchase: “I used to hang around with the painter and antiques dealer, Lillian Milne, who had an antique shop in Cheltenham when I was in my 20s. A wild, wild woman. Flame-red hair, always a cigarette holder with a butt in it. I bought china pieces from her and I still have them.”


The Wright Attitude Shoppe in a Shed showcases china, chairs and other posh collectibles. Photo by James MacDonald.

The Wright Attitude Shoppe in a Shed showcases china, chairs and other posh collectibles. Photo by James MacDonald.

Best known for: “People ask me if anyone buys crystal and silver anymore, and I say that I think I’m the only one! I also seem to have a passion for chairs – I have a lot of them. They’re easy to recover. I like brass candlesticks, art and I do like lamps.”

A recent find: “A little dark wood dresser with moustache handles. I’m liking it a lot. That’s an auction find.”

What he’ll never part with: “I have my mother’s sofa that was originally in Casa Loma. It’s now got leopard print upholstery. It’s a great big Victorian thing.”

Pro tips: “I send a lot of people to Paul Noonan of Paul Noonan’s Antiques in Alma, Ontario. He’s been in the antiques business since he was a teenager. I also send people up to Orangeville Flowers. They are amazing buyers. Their displays are fabulous.”

His new normal: John says he’s thankful visitors are returning. In the new shop, physical distancing, masks and hand sanitizer are de rigueur.

@johnwright.thewrightattitude on Instagram

About the Author More by James MacDonald

James MacDonald is a freelance photographer, cinematographer and writer who divides his time between Caledon and Toronto.

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